But what if someone needs more than just a rigorous skincare maintenance routine? A person with trouble-prone skin, for example, will require exfoliants to clear acne scars. The Korean skincare routine typically uses physical exfoliants, like granulated scrubs and loofahs, which may further irritate the skin and trigger breakouts. Chemical exfoliants, while friendlier to sensitive skin, are not exactly offered by every K-beauty brand. Good thing some Korean skincare brands, like the cult-favorite COSRX, are seeing and addressing this gap by making properly formulated chemical exfoliants more widely available. So if you’re a K-beauty junkie with sensitive, trouble-prone skin, you can now add these items to your skincare kit to make it more effective against acne:
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is a type of chemical exfoliant. AHA is water soluble and works by exfoliating the surface of the skin. It lets skin cells fall away faster to reveal the healthy, blemish-free skin beneath. AHA tends to moisturize the skin and is shown to help build collagen, making it an ideal choice for people with drier skin types. This exfoliant type is a main ingredient of products that are designed to get rid of whiteheads and uneven skin complexion, but it is more popularly used for its anti-aging benefits. If you feel that the AHA-based product you have is a little too strong for your skin, you can tone it down by mixing it with a bit of moisturizer before application.
Aside from AHA, there’s also BHA or beta hydroxy acid. This second type of chemical exfoliant is fat soluble, making it a great product for those with oily skin. BHA is perfect for acne-riddled skin as it has anti-inflammatory qualities and it works on the skin surface by penetrating and degunking the pores. Unlike AHAs, BHAs tend to dry out the skin. Salicylic acid is the most common type of BHA, but COSRX also offers betaine salicylate-based products for removing blackheads and dead skin cells.
These 2 types of chemical exfoliants can be used together, but it is advised to use only one at a time. If it’s your first time to use a product, you should first try to properly gauge how it feels on your skin. Also, you should anticipate purging or a period of adjustment where you might get breakouts. However, if you feel that your current exfoliant is not doing your skin any favors, don’t despair and don’t settle. Remember that you have other accessible K-beauty brand options at online shops like YesStyle.com.